Friday, June 02, 2006

Scenes from a Two-Team Marriage

I was worried coming into the finale of the four-game series between the Yanks and the Tigers. My wife, La Chiquita, is a Detroit native, and even though she’s a non-baseball fan, she’s all about civic pride for her hometown. In case you haven’t noticed, the Motor City needs every bit of kind thought we can muster, because short of New Orleans, there probably isn’t a major city in the U.S. that’s in as much trouble right now.

Not following baseball, La Chiquita still notes whenever the Yanks win (it’s like a weather report on my moods–an easy win is 75 and sunny, a blowout loss is thunderstorms with a flood warning), and had noticed, after Mussina won on Wednesday, that the Tigers had lost three in a row to the Bombers.

Her comment, at the time, was “They’ve got to win tomorrow. They can’t lose four in a row.”

I pointed out to my darling wife that the Red Sox were coming into town right after the Yankees, and that once the Red Sox were there, the Tigers could win all they wanted. I also pointed out that the Yanks were neck-and-neck with Boston, and needed every win they could get.

“Doesn’t matter. They have to win tomorrow.”

It looked like La Chiquita’s wish had a good chance of coming true. The Tigers had their phenom, Justin Verlander, going in the last game of the series. Verlander was way up in the ERA race; it wouldn’t be shocking if he managed to hold down the depleted Yankee roster.

But as I left work last night, the Yanks had tagged him up, but good. I checked the score as I was leaving the office was 6-3. I was a little worried, since it had been 6-1 only moments before my final check of the day. After a long Long Island Railroad delay, complete with thunderstorm I reached home, and put on the YES Network. The score was 6-5 with the Yankees batting in the top of the ninth. Despite starting a rally, the Yanks were unable to bring in any runs against Fernando Rodney.

Then came former Tiger Kyle Farnsworth out of the bullpen. There went the lead, and then the game.

As it was happening, my tendency to curse at the TV let La Chiquita know that something was going on worth a Tigers fan paying attention to. When Guillen stroked the game winning single, she was jubillant.

The tough part was, she came over to me for a high five. My team just lost. I'm being asked to celebrate that loss.

"I can't" I said.

"C'mon," she said, hand still held up, "they can't win every game."

But they could easily have won this one, I thought bitterly. Her hand was still up.

I've always been leery of inter-team marriages. It's worse than inter-faith marriages, because aside from a few details (like "what religion will the kids be?") religions aren't intrinsically in conflict with each other. I'm utterly convinced that Yankees fans marrying Mets or Red Sox fans is pure folly. When I lived in Boston, the girls wearing their Red Sox caps (few and far between back then, the Sox weren't doing too well) may well have been marked "One Night Stand Only"--and I'm not a one-night kind of guy.

Someone close to me was once married into a Mets fan family. It was OK for a while, everyone got along through trying times, like Armando Benitez beaning Tino Martinez and even Roger Clemens capping Mike Piazza. Then came the Subway (World) Series, and after watching game 1 with his Mets fan brother-in-law in a bar, the two didn't speak for weeks. Their relationship was never the same.

That thought on my mind, and realizing that it isn't the same for her as it is for me, and thinking that three out of four ain't bad, I gave La Chiquita her high five. Some things are just too important.

However, we may be in trouble come playoff time :)

1 comment:

Joe said...

Come on, who could have seen this coming? The Yankees and Tigers, throughout courtship, engagement and the early days of marriage, were like Catholicism and...I don't know, some weird, obscure religion that uses Oreos for communion wafers and sings songs from "Into the Light" during sacraments.

You never could have envisioned a moment where the Tigers winning would actually possibly be relevant to your day, much less hers.

Pat her palm, and perhaps her head, and smile, knowing that this, too, shall pass.